This week: 18.5%/check; $900/month; 5 stores/no Drano; and a 2:1 actress-to-character ratio.
You could build a whole Flight of the Conchords reunion episode around this one incident
Acclaimed nautically-themed restauranteur and minimum wage fan Renee Erickson announced she is eliminating tips at her Seattle restaurants and instead assessing an 18.5% service charge, which will be split between servers and back-of-house employees. She calculates that her servers will make the same or more money, and other employees will see a significant raise — and the overall job market at high-end foodie restaurants ought to keep the take-home competitive. It’s an interesting experiment, though it did incite some outrage from internet commenters over how a mandatory service charge might affect their power to punish servers who didn’t service them to their satisfaction.
The prime minister of New Zealand may very well have been one of those commenters, because he definitely has a curious sense about the power dynamics of service work: he recently had to apologize for repeatedly pulling a waitress’s pony tail, on multiple visits, despite her increasingly agitated response at his bizarre and entirely inappropriate behavior. And all this time you thought video games about customer service sounded boring rather than subversive?
In the Longview, it gets better
The Longview Daily News took a deep dive into one local family’s finances in order to explore what it's like to raise a family on minimum wage in a lower-cost part of the I-5 corridor. The Hurring family takes in $900/month from a fast food job, plus $320 in food stamps and $400 in rent assistance from a community nonprofit. They have a 1-year old. They can’t afford to fix their brakes. Ms. Hurring's parents spotted the family $16 so they could meet up at a Barnes & Noble. And then there are the indignities, like the judge who denied Ms. Hurring disability assistance on the grounds that since she had a baby, she must not be all that disabled or poor. The story isn’t entirely sympathetic to the family’s situation, but in-depth reporting about actual working people is still too rare, and always welcome.
(And yes, getting $15 does change things.)
Here’s hoping Liquid Plumr is answering calls at the NLRB
Like a guilty teenager in an anti-drug special who's frantically flushing the evidence while their parents bang on the bathroom door, Walmart suddenly ran into serious plumbing problems at five stores where workers were mobilized for major job actions. The company claims the sudden-onset plumbing issues are so serious as to require up to a year of store closures… and yet the issue never came up in recent renovations of these very stores, and the company has yet to even apply for new building permits. There’s so much evidence of retaliation here, you could make a Federal case out of it — and that’s exactly what Walmart workers are doing.
Hopefully they re-make the episode when DJ Tanner got a job so she could buy some shoes
Animal solidarity is a powerful thing. Three zebras fled Belgian police this week, uniting across color and species after becoming agitated by the sale of some horses who worked at the same stable.
Wolf spiders are making like the organize fish too: when an Australian YouTube user tried to kill one of the arachnids with a broom, not only did it survive the blow — it spewed forth hundreds of children.
And the 1990s remain irrepressible as well. Netflix announced a Full House update/reunion, and say what you will, but the fact that you need two Olsen Twins to play one toddler remains America’s best lesson in labor law since the Roosevelt Administration.